This is my third year of setting my goals in public. I have been making plans – both personally and professionally – for a long time, but the added accountability of putting them ‘out there’ definitely helps me to stay on track!
If you would prefer not to put your goals on the internet (eek!), finding an accountability partner can also work really well. You just need a friend or acquaintance who is also trying to achieve concrete goals, and then you set a regular meet-up (or schedule regular emails) in which you will set your tasks and report on your progress. It really helps!
Using a combination of public accountability, private accountability partners, and my own beloved system of tracking with both a paper planner and a bullet journal, 2017 was my most productive year, yet. I want to maintain this focus and, as always, improve!
I know I always say this but here goes… I will prioritise creation this year. I say ‘creation’ rather than ‘writing’ because, while I want to keep novels as my main focus, I also want to encourage myself to try different forms and to create, finish and publish all kinds of things (including non-fiction for this site).
In concrete terms, my writing goals are:
- Write two new novels.
- Write (at least!) six articles for the Worried Writer site.
- Try writing something in a different form (for fun!) eg. Radio play or a short story.
I think that batching similar tasks, keeping a firm grip on my to-do lists and using a timer will help.
Also, I want to be more aware of my attention (and when it is fragmented), as I want to develop my ability for sustained, deep focus. I’m halfway through Cal Newport’s Deep Work and it makes a compelling argument for the importance of this last goal.
- Beneath The Water is up for pre-order and is out on February 8th from Lake Union. Create a marketing plan (and follow through!) including guest blogs, interviews, and giveaways.
- Get a new publishing deal with either my supernatural book or WIP.
- Publish new urban fantasy (the first in a series!) through Siskin Press (aiming for October).
- Get print rights back for The Secrets of Ghosts and publish paperback myself.
- Get better at marketing and work on my mindset issues around this topic.
I had some great training on performance and presentation with The Scottish Book Trust in November 2017, and I’d like to do more ‘real life’ learning in 2018.
I also need to consolidate the information I learned through Mark Dawson’s Ads For Authors course and do more testing on various ads.
I did a little bit better at scheduling time off for ‘refilling the well’ in 2017 but there is still room for improvement. Particularly in scheduling full days in which I leave the house and visit a gallery or similar…
I really want to focus on my health this year. Since my children no longer require walking to and from school every day and my job involves lots of sitting, I am keenly aware that my general fitness is declining. So, this year:
- Increase walking to an average of 10,000 steps per day. I’ve been tracking my daily walks (in mileage) for a while, but by switching to total daily steps I’m hoping to encourage myself to just move a bit more/take regular screen breaks.
- Do some longer walks and hill walks.
- Continue playing badminton and add in yoga class (or schedule time to do yoga/stretching at home).
- Do breathing exercises every day.
Also, as I truly believe this vital for health and happiness, but I’m pretty terrible at taking my own advice…
Schedule time off that is just for relaxing (or socialising or reading quietly on the sofa) WITHOUT GUILT!
If you are interested in improving your health and wellbeing, I’d heartily recommend The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Dr Euan Lawson. It tackles the health issues specific to writers in a practical and friendly manner. I’m very excited to have Joanna Penn back on the podcast next month to discuss this important topic further.
- Get better at sending out my newsletter and increase the size of my reader group/mailing list.
- Continue with monthly episodes of the podcast and add a Patreon account to help with the running costs (with perks such as extra content).
- Get to more real-life author meet-ups for fun, friendship and support.
- I intend to do at least one author event (in which I read my fiction – meep!) or workshop (in which I talk about strategies for overcoming fear, self-doubt and procrastination).
I am also planning on attending my first professional conference. I keep swithering between the traditional book events such as ScotsWrite or an RNA event, and one of the more business-focused ones like The London Book Fair.
Your turn! What are your goals for 2018?
Let’s make it a good year!